Who We Are

The Appalachian Prison Book Project (APBP)—a grassroots, all-volunteer 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization—challenges mass incarceration by providing books and education to incarcerated people and by creating opportunities for volunteers and community groups to learn more about the legal and prison systems.

Closely affiliated with West Virginia University, a land-grant research institution, APBP also provides internships and service-learning opportunities to undergraduates, graduate students, and law students and encourages interdisciplinary research. APBP sponsors lectures, conferences, performances, and other educational events related to mass incarceration.



APBP grew out of an American prison literature course taught by English professor Katy Ryan in 2004 at West Virginia University. Since then, APBP has mailed over 45,000 free books to people in prison, led book clubs in men’s and women’s prisons, and is currently working to bring for-credit college classes into a regional prison.

Mission and Vision

Our work emanates from two interconnected premises: education is a basic human right, and engaging the community in educational justice efforts is a requisite component to building sustainable restorative justice models.



Our board of directors govern the inner-workings of APBP and ensure volunteers have the support they need to pursue our mission.


Student Organization

The West Virginia University Student Organization of APBP helps with much of our core work: opening letters, matching books to letter requests, wrapping books, and hauling carts full of packages to the local post office.

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